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Essence Atkins, Lynn Whitfield, Jasmine Guy Star in UP Original Movie “My Other Mother”


UP presents the original movie “My Other Mother“, an emotional, heartwarming drama about a demanding national TV news anchor who reconnects with her equally-demanding birth mother. Starring Essence Atkins (Haunted House 2, “Half & Half”), Lynn Whitfield(The Josephine Baker Story, UP’s The Dempsey Sisters and Somebody’s Child) and Jasmine Guy (“The Vampire Diaries,” “A Different World”), “My Other Mother” will make its world television premiere on UP on Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 7 p.m. EST / 6 p.m. PST.

Produced by Swirl Films, the “My Other Mother” is directed by Stan Foster (Peacher’s Kid, “Tour of Duty”).  The ensemble cast also includes Greg Alan Williams (UP’s Marry Me For Christmas and Somebody’s Child, “Necessary Roughness”), Angie Stone (UP’s Where’s The Love?, “The Rickey Smiley Show”) and Kendrick Cross (Iron Man 3, “The Game”).

My Other Mother marks the fifth film to be produced and air on UP as a direct result of the network’s highly successful “UP Faith & Family Screenplay Competition,” now in its fourth year.  The script is by Keronda “KiKi” McKnight, the Winner in last year’s UP Faith & Family Screenplay Competition at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).

In My Other Mother, Candace “Candy” Meyers (Essence Atkins) is a successful anchor on a top-rated national magazine show.  Fiercely independent and committed to her job, Candy doesn’t make many friends with her demanding, gruff nature.  In fact, her only true friend might be her long-time manager Lewis (Kendrick Cross).  Candy discovers that an anonymous fan she’s had for years has passed way – and he was her biological father Freddy Nelson!  Content with the love and support of her adoptive family, Candy has never been curious about her biological parents.  That all changes when she travels back for her father’s funeral, meets the Nelson family – including biological uncle Abner (Greg Alan Williams), Freddy’s wife Delores (Angie Stone) and her two step-brothers – and discovers that her reclusive, angry and stubborn birth mother, Mary Jo (Lynn Whitfield) is going to be a challenge.  The journey these two surprisingly similar women take getting to know each other will break down walls and open them up to a life they never knew was possible.

“We are thrilled to bring Keronda ‘KiKi’ McKnight’s impressive, winning script to life on UP as part of our ongoing commitment to the UP Faith & Family Screenplay Competition at ABFF,” said Sophia Kelley, senior vice president of programming, UP.  “Viewers are going to enjoy seeing our outstanding leads- NAACP Image Award-winning Essence Atkins, Emmy® Award-winning Lynn Whitfield and NAACP Image Award-winning Jasmine Guy – acting toe-to-toe as daughter Candy, birth mother Mary Jo and adoptive mother Evelyn.”

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For the fourth year, UP has partnered with the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) on its annual UP Faith and Family Screenplay Competition.  The Competition, developed to promote the development of faith-friendly, family entertainment screenplays, with a focus on the American Black experience, is a component of UP’s Official Sponsorship of Film Life’s annual ABFF, which is the preeminent festival promoting cultural diversity within the film and television industry.

To date, the UP Faith & Family Competition has generated four films that UP has produced and aired on the network.  These include In the Meantime, written by Nzinga Kadalie Kemp, and Raising Izzie, written by David Martyn Conley – both produced by Roger Bobb of Bobbcat Films.  The third film is Somebody’s Child, written by Siddeeqah Powell and directed by Gary Wheeler.  Raising Izzie and Somebody’s Child were the number one and number two ranked telecasts in their time slots among African-American W18-49 on their premiere nights.  The fourth film, Comeback Dad, had its world premiere on UP in July.

UP presents My Other Mother, a Swirl Films production.  Starring Essence Atkins, Lynn Whitfield, Jasmine Guy, Greg Alan Williams, Angie Stone and Kendrick Cross.  Directed by Stan Foster.  Produced by Eric Tomosunas, David Eubanks and Keith Neal.  Director of Photography is George Su.  Editor is Dante Wyatt.  Script by Keronda ‘KiKi’ McKnight.

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